Actor, political activist Ngwenya dies

TELEVISION actor and political activist, Agrippa Sikwata Ngwenya, has died. He was 80.


Agrippa Ngwenya

Agrippa Ngwenya

Ngwenya, who had not been well since last year, succumbed to hypertension and diabetes on February 13.

He had a colourful acting career that saw him featuring as the character Khumalo in the ZTV drama, Kukhulwa Kokuphela. He was also a founder member and secretary of the Vukani Mahlabezulu Cultural Society.

Born on October 10, 1936 in Matobo, Njelele, he did his primary education at Shashe and Solusi primary schools before continuing up to the Union Junior Certificate. He was in school with prominent figures that included the late Vice-President John Nkomo and the late Gibson Munyoro.

Having worked in Bulawayo and Harare in the 1960s, he joined the Zimbabwe Graphical Union — a trade union of the printing industry — in 1979, initially representing black workers within the union. In 1964, he was detained for three months for supporting the National Democratic Party. He was later rose to the post of general secretary of the union upon independence and served the union until 2001.

As secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Graphical Union, he was the first black person to occupy Empire House, the former offices of the Smith regime, while serving as the vice-chairman for the National Employment Council for the Printing, Packaging and Newspaper Industry.

At the time of his death, he had found a new political home in the Zimbabwe People First party, where he was serving “informally” as an elder representing the Matabeleland region. He was also a founder member of the Concerned Elders of Matabeleland and the Matabeleland Supreme Council, organisations formed with the express purpose to protect the interests and rights of the peoples of Matabeleland.

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